Category: Engagement Party Invitations

Do It Yourself (DIY) versus Professional Invitations: Pros and Cons to Help You Decide What’s Best for You

Last month, I wrote about how to add unique and personal touches to your wedding or party décor with projects you do yourself (known as Do It Yourself, or DIY). The article was actually about how you can hire a professional to help you if you don’t think you can or don’t want to do the work yourself, but still want that personal touch at your party. This month, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the Do It Yourself decision as it pertains to invitations, and present some pros and cons to help you decide whether or not you should make your own or hire a professional. This article will help you figure that out so you can set the right tone for your event.

INVITATION STYLE AND DESIGN

The invitation you choose for your event is largely based on how formal your event is and what tone and expectations you want to set for your guests. If you are throwing an elegant affair, you’ll probably want to have an invitation that imparts the formality of the event. Fancier invitations such as letterpress, foil stamping, laser cut designs, and printing on things other than paper (like plastic or wood), are not easily done from home. Ordering invitations from a professional company expands the range of papers and printing styles you can choose from. Also, if you have a specific design in mind, the best option is to hire someone to create a custom invitation for you so you can have exactly what you envision.

However, if you’re having a small party with a limited guest list, printing your invitations from home is a great idea. You can pick up some colorful papers from a local arts and crafts store and download a template online.

QUALITY

Professional invitation companies and invitation designers create invitations all day long. It’s what they do. To that end, you can expect nothing but the best quality. Layers will be cut straight, borders will be even, and the printing will be even and consistent. Not all home printers are capable of such high quality, and not all home printers can handle premium papers such as metallics, shimmers and other specialty papers. Also, if you are creating a muli-layered invitation at home, you’ll need a good paper cutter and keen eye in order to make sure your cuts are straight and your borders are even when you affix one layer to another. And printing on envelopes is a whole ‘nother skill. Many home printers won’t feed envelopes, so printing directly on the envelope is not an option. That leaves you with having to print your return and/or mailing address on a label, which gives a much less formal look to the invitation.

WORK INVOLVED AND SPECIAL TOOLS

There is a lot of work involved in assembling a full invitation suite, more than most people realize when they make the decision to create their own invitations. Not only do you have to purchase all the raw materials, such as paper and envelopes, but you have to also purchase whatever additional embellishments you want to add to the design. Do you know where to shop for the supplies? Do you know how much to purchase to create all the pieces in your invitation suite? Many people don’t realize they will likely make mistakes and misprints along the way. Do you have extra materials just in case?

Also, as I noted earlier, you have to have a good paper cutter, one that cuts accurately and that cuts straight. Can your desktop printer handle the papers you want to use? What about envelopes? And do you have the right kind of adhesive tape to affix the layers to each other?

By ordering your invitations from a company, many of these details are handled for you. And if you work with a custom invitation designer, you can get that personal and unique invitation without all the struggle of making them yourself.

TIME CONSTRAINTS

How much time do you have to put everything together? Even a small invitation job will take hours of time because you’re likely not just printing the main invitation, but are printing multiple pieces as well as envelopes. Multiply how long it takes to assemble a single invitation by 200 and you can see you may need more time to finish the job than you originally thought. Also, if you’re printing on specialty papers, you’ll need to leave enough time for the ink to dry. And if you’ve never done this kind of thing before, count on making mistakes. Everyone does when they’re learning a new skill. Can you afford the time to remake invitations if you make mistakes?

Ordering invitations from a professional eliminates this issue because most invitation companies publish their production times. If you need your invitations in a hurry, say within four to six weeks, it’s probably best to let a professional help you.

BUDGET

Making your own invitations won’t always save you money. That’s because large invitation companies and professional custom invitation designers can order supplies at wholesale prices. They’re able to take advantage of better pricing because they typically order in larger quantities than you can as an individual buyer. You also have to factor in your time. Even if you plan to make your own invitations, there is a cost associated with your time. There’s also a time factor involved with searching and procuring all of the supplies and tools you’ll need, not to mention shipping costs which many people forget to factor in.

For assistance in designing a one-of-a-kind custom invitation suite that fits your budget, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

#DIY
#DoItYourself
#HireAProfessional
#WeddingInvitations
#BarMitzvahInvitations
#BatMitzvahInvitations
#BirthdayInvitations
#CharityEventInvitations
@InvitationMaven
#InvitationMaven

 

 

Five Common Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When designing your custom event invitation, whether it’s for a wedding, bar mitzvah, fundraising event or milestone birthday, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. There’s more to it than simply creating the invitation and placing it in the envelope. Here are the top 5 mistakes most people make when creating their invitations and some tips about how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not including all the necessary information on the invitation

I find that some clients worry that their invitation includes too much information. However, I counter that it’s best to include all of the information your guests will need to know rather than leave something out for the sake of cutting out a few words. Of course, your invitation should include the basic details of the event such as the day and date of the event, the time the event starts, and the location of the venue, but don’t be afraid to include inserts with additional details. For example, one of the most common inserts is a Map and Directions card. Even though most cars and phones have navigation software to help guide guests to the location of your event, including a pre-printed map or printed directions in the invitation, especially if the venue is difficult to find, is a courtesy many guests will appreciate.

Other common inserts include a separate reception card, which is critical if your reception is at a different location than your ceremony, a “Weekend Events” insert with information about events taking place before and after the main event, and an “Accommodations” card, which can include information about local hotels, nearby airports, local attractions, rental car agencies, and room blocks you have reserved on behalf of your guests. Finally, don’t forget to include information about the dress code somewhere in your invitation suite, either on the invitation itself or on a separate card. People want to know how to dress for the occasion, so be sure to let them know.

Mistake #2: Not sending invitations out on time and not giving people enough time to RSVP

The number one question I get from clients is “when should I send out my invitations?” The answer is six to eight weeks before your event. If you are having a destination wedding, be sure to send them out on the eight-week end of that mailing window so that guests have enough time to make travel arrangements.

Tied in with this mistake is not giving people enough time to respond. You want to give them three to four weeks from when they receive your invitation to when you want the RSVP back to figure out if they can attend. Set the RSVP return date no later than two weeks before your event. If you mail your invitations on time, this will give guests plenty of time to let you know and it will give you enough time to follow up with guests you don’t hear from so you can give your caterer an accurate number.

Mistake #3: Not clearly identifying who is invited

The best way to let your guests know who is invited to your event is to tell them on the front of the envelope. Don’t include references to other people who live at an address on the front of the envelope, either directly or implied, unless you intend to include them in your festivities. For example, if you are inviting a couple but not their kids, address the envelope as “Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jones” rather than “The Jones Family.” If you are including the girlfriend or boyfriend of a guest, it’s best to find out the name of that person and address the invitation to both people by name. If you decide a friend may bring a guest (or a “plus one” in wedding parlance), be sure to include “and Guest” on his or her envelope.

Mistake #4: Printing your registry information on the invitation

I have had several clients who want to put their wedding registry information on their actual invitations. I strongly discourage them from doing this as it’s an etiquette no-no. Instead, as I’ve done with several clients, include an insert with a link to your wedding website (NOTE: Do NOT print the direct link to your registry on either your invitation or inserts. Rather, embed the ink somewhere on your website and make it easy for guests to find once they’re there). From your website, guests can search for more information about your event, including your registry.

Mistake #5: Forgetting the stamp on the RSVP envelope

To encourage your guests to send back their RSVP cards, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. You can do that by including a pre addressed and stamped envelope. That way, all your guest has to do is fill out the RSVP card, put it in the envelope, seal it, and drop it in a mailbox. Don’t try to save money by not including pre-paid return stamp. It’s considered a party faux pas.

When designing your invitation suite, be sure to include all the details your guests will need to know. If you’re not sure, or don’t want the information on the main invitation itself, include the information on a separate insert. When I design an invitation suite for my clients, I use a check list to make sure I haven’t left off any important details. For your FREE CHECKLIST of details to include when designing your invitation suite, click here: INVITATION DETAILS TO INCLUDE ON EVERY INVITATION. For assistance in designing a one-of-a-kind custom invitation suite, complete with all the information your guests need to know, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

#InvitationMistakes
#WeddingInvitations
#BarMitzvahInvitations
#BatMitzvahInvitations
#BirthdayInvitations
#CharityEventInvitations
@InvitationMaven
#InvitationMaven

 

DIY Not Your Thing? Hire a Professional to Help Create Personal Details for Your Wedding or Mitzvah

As a professional designer of custom wedding invitations, I see all manner of design incorporated into a bride and groom’s special day. My absolute favorite events are those where the bride (and sometimes even the groom) create their own beautiful handmade details. I love these weddings because the details make the event personal and bring guests closer to the bride and groom. And with sites like Instagram and Pinterest, Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, is more popular than ever.

These websites provide a plethora of ideas brides and grooms can search for inspiration. Many of the ideas even include How To instructions and links for finding necessary supplies and materials. But what I hear most often from my clients who LOVE what they see is that they just aren’t able to do it themselves. Either they don’t feel like they’ve got the creative bug or they don’t have the time or inclination.

That’s where I come in.

Pinterest is a wonderful resource

In addition to designing custom wedding invitations, I also can help design and create any design a client sees online. A party planner I work with once sent me an image from Pinterest of a 5-foot tall jumbo tissue paper flower and asked if I could make some for her client. “Of course!” I said. And I made it so. I made 16 flowers in varying heights. And the best part? The flower heads are removable from the stems so I can change them to match any color scheme. I initially made them with peach colored flowers, then made purple flowers for another party, as you can see in the images below. And I’m currently creating the flower tops in blues to match the decor of an upcoming event.

Jumbo tissue paper flowers make a stunning display at the entrance to any party.
The flower tops can be swapped out to match any decor.


Custom artwork designed by the guest of honor adds a special touch

For another client, I incorporated a painting the client’s daughter made into not only the reception card in the invitation suite, but also into the seating cards and cover of a bencher, a book containing Jewish prayers recited after meals.

Reception card featuring original artwork painted by one of the bat mitzvah girls.
Seating cards for a beach-themed bat mitzvah
Custom benchers for reciting grace after meals.

Seating cards (above) and custom benchers (below) featuring the same artwork as the Reception Card.

Other hand-painted images were used in other parts of the invitation suite and repeated at the party as well.

Doing double duty

And for my own son’s bar mitzvah in December 2014, I hand painted a chair that we used for two separate parts of the event: first, the chair was our sign in “book.” Our guests signed in to the party by writing their name on the chair. Then, we used that same chair for a traditional Jewish chair lifting dance called the horah at the beginning of the festivities. This chair is now a keepsake that my son keeps in his room.

Hand painted sign-in chair that can also be used for the horah

Don’t skip DIY because you don’t think you can do it yourself

DIY is very popular and is a great way to incorporate personal details into your party. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. Contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven for help in giving your party some DIY touches.

#partydecor
#jumboflowers
#tissuepaperflowers
#barmitzvah
#batmitzvah
#bnaimitzvah
#wedding
#weddingdecor
#birthdayparty
#DIY
#DoItYourself
#CustomInvitations
#Benchers
#InvitationMaven
#MarketaHarlan
#MarketaEvents
#WoodlandHillsCountryClub
#AnnenbergBeachHouse
@InvitationMaven
@MarketaHarlan
@MarketaEvents
@WoodlandHillsCountryClub
@AnnenbergBeachHouse

Making Sure Your Invitation is Functional, Not Just “Pretty”

Why Invitation Design is Important

This beginning post isn’t really about invitations, per se. It is about how what may become the most infamous design flaw in the print world ruined such an important and special moment for many people anticipating a crowning achievement in their careers. This story highlights the importance of a good, functional design and demonstrates why function and clarity are more important that looks.

Here’s what happened:

It’s Oscar Sunday, 2017, Hollywood’s most important night of the year. They save the biggest and most anticipated Oscar for the end of the show: BEST PICTURE. Anticipation builds throughout the evening, and the moment everyone is waiting for arrives.

To add to the drama of the moment, two iconic stars, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, open the envelope and announce the winner for Best Picture. Actors, producers and others involved with the winning film come up on stage. Acceptance speeches are given. Then, in what is perhaps the oddest and most surreal moment in Academy Awards history, utter confusion ensues and the REAL winner is unceremoniously revealed.

It’s a chaotic and embarrassing scene as it becomes apparent that the presenters were handed the wrong envelope. The protocols that surround this process are well known and strictly adhered to, so how could this happen?

Well, it seems the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences took the design process in house this year. And while they may have created an envelope that looked beautiful, it seems their graphic designers did not take into account the whole purpose of design: to be functional. And part of being functional, especially when billions of people are watching and Hollywood careers are on the line, is to be clear and to have what is known in the engineering field as redundancy. Clarity imparts the necessary information. Redundancy ensures that if your system fails, you have a reliable backup.

The protocols protecting the secrecy of the winners of the Academy Awards are well documented. Here’s a short video that explains some of the detailed protocols employed: Academy Awards Ballot Process. However, it seems the designers of this year’s Academy Award envelopes failed to build redundancy and clarity into the envelope design itself, measures that could have minimized the possibility of handing the presenter the wrong envelope.

This year’s Oscar envelope was red with small gold writing on the outside. There are two issues with this. First, in the hustle and bustle that occurs backstage at the Oscars, it is easy to misread small print. Second, gold on red does not offer much contrast, and with unknown and changing lighting conditions, it is important that the print be legible and easy to read. Metallic gold foil can be difficult to read in low light situations because of the reflection of the light on the text.

Compare this year’s design (below) to last year’s envelope (above). Several design elements intended to ensure clarity are immediately apparent. On last year’s envelope, the text is written in large black print on a light background. This makes it far easier to read in both low and bright lighting. Further, the category is printed on both the front AND the back of the envelope. This makes it much easier for everyone involved in handling that envelope to make sure the correct envelope is handed to the presenters. So if the person doesn’t read the front of the envelope correctly, the same information is printed on the back.

  

In the words of Marc Friedland of Couture Communications of Los Angeles, the man who designed the Oscar envelopes from 2011 – 2016, the primary goal of the envelope is to make it “dummy proof.” By building redundancy and clarity into the design, mistakes are minimized.

So while the visual appeal is important, if the wrong envelope is handed to the presenter, it won’t matter how beautiful the envelope is. It has to function properly, and that includes making sure the correct envelope is easily identifiable in the first place.

For more information about what went wrong at the 2017 Academy Awards, here’s an article about the snafu: 2017 Oscars Envelope Mistake

The concepts of clarity and redundancy are just as important in invitation design. You want to make sure your invitation is clear to the reader. Read it from your guest’s perspective, not your own. Does it say who it’s from, does it have the correct date, is the time correct (a.m. vs. p.m.), is the venue accurate so your guests know where to go? All of these details matter. It’s about being clear.

And there are ways to build in redundancy, too. Numbering each RSVP card ensures that you know who the response is from even if your guests forget to write their names.

For assistance in designing the envelopes and invitations for your next event, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

#Oscars
#AcademyAwards
#AcademyofMotionPicturesArtsandSciences
#BestPicture
#Envelopes
#CustomEnvelopes
#CustomInvitations
#InvitationDesign
#FunctionalDesign
#Redundancy
#InvitationMaven
@Oscars
@AcademyAwards
@AcademyofMotionPicturesArtsandSciences
@CoutureCommunicationsofLosAngeles
@InvitationMaven

 

 

A Unique Bridal Registry Idea: Dominos Pizza

I’m always reading news about what’s going on in my industry. It helps me stay on top of new trends and great ideas. Today I came across an article that made me giggle: Dominos Pizza started a bridal registry.

The tag line on their website reads “The first registry for couples who prefer delicious melty cheese to crystal gravy boats.” This is actually a great idea! It offers brides and grooms an inexpensive and fun option for budget-friendly gifts and some great tasting pizza to boot.

If you would like to create your own bridal registry at Dominos Pizza, here’s a link: Dominos Pizza Bridal Registry

And here’s a link to the article I read so you can read more about the idea: Dominos Pizza article

#DominosPizza
#BridalRegistry
#WeddingRegistry
#WeddingGifts
#WeddingGift
#Wedding
#Bridal
#Bride
#Groom
#BrideandGroom
#InvitationMaven

Number One Event Planning Tip: Enjoy the Process

Planning a special event can be a daunting task, whether it’s a small, intimate gathering of friends to celebrate a milestone birthday or a large life cycle event such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. There are thousands of choices to make and a myriad of details to keep track of. Sometimes, the details can become overwhelming, especially when you already have a full time job.

Many people search out advice about how to do this or that. But those lists leave out the most important piece of advice I give each of my clients: enjoy the process, because sometimes, the things that go wrong will become your funniest and most memorable stories.

But what does “enjoy the process” mean?

Events are usually planned months in advance and it takes time and effort to decide what to serve, who to invite, how to decorate, who to hire, etc. Clients often spend hundreds of hours or more planning every detail of the party. This process can often be very stressful. And with all the planning, the actual event itself is over within a matter of hours. So the reason why I tell my clients to enjoy the process is because if you don’t, you will miss out on opportunities to make memories. And if things go wrong, either on that day or in the days leading up to your special event, if you’re not enjoying the process, these mishaps can ruin your entire experience.

I’ll share an example from a client I had a few years ago to illustrate my point.

I designed some bar mitzvah invitations for a client (I’ll call her Julie). We were just about ready to go into production. She had just emailed me her signed proofs when she got a call from her venue saying they’d had a major flood and needed to close the venue to make repairs. They informed her that they could not guarantee that the venue would be ready in time for her event, which was then only 10 weeks away.

Well, anyone who knows about planning a large party knows venues book months and sometimes a year or more in advance. Finding another venue that could accommodate Julie and her 200+ guests at that late date would be challenging, to say the least. But rather than be discouraged, Julie called several local venues and was able to find a place that was available on her date.

While those first few days following the news of the flood added some unneeded stress, Julie recalled my advice and realized that although unexpected things sometimes happen, she couldn’t have planned for that, so she might as well make the best of it. She maintained her positive attitude and friendly disposition and as a result, was able to negotiate more for less, and ended up at a superior venue. And now, two years later, because she enjoyed the process, it’s a funny story she can recall with fondness, not anger.

So I’ll give you the same advice I give all my clients: enjoy the process!

And to help you get started, get my FREE “BIG PARTY GUEST LIST SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to stay sane when 100 or more people are celebrating with you!” by clicking here: SURVIVAL GUIDE.

#EventPlanning
#EventPlanningTip
#Wedding
#BarMitzvah
#BatMitzvah
#BnaiMitzvah
#PartyPlanning
#InvitationMaven

A Unique Bridal Registry

I attended a wedding shower a few weeks ago. It was for the daughter of a very good friend of mine. I can’t believe I’m old enough to be attending the weddings of my friends’ children, but I digress.

This wasn’t a typical wedding shower. The bride and groom live out of state so the bride’s mom is planning the wedding for her daughter. The bride and groom would not be able to lug a bunch of china and other typical wedding gifts back home (which is half way across the country), so the bride registered on a site called Honey Fund (www.HoneyFund.com).

Honey Fund is a virtual bridal registry that allows the bride and groom to register for things they need and want. However, they don’t receive an actual gift. The website tracks the gifts received but the giver provides cash or check instead for the selected amount. The money is earmarked to pay for a specific item on the registry, but the bride and groom have the flexibility to purchase the items themselves at their convenience.

Couples can register for traditional gifts such as toasters, mixers, and other house wares, but the site is more often used to register for non-traditional wedding gifts such as airfare, hotel stays, dinners and drinks at the honeymoon destination as well as excursions and spa treatments.

The funds can essentially be used to help the couple pay for their honeymoon. They can also be collected to help pay for the down payment on a house. For couples who have already established a home or who don’t need “things,” this is a wonderful way for their guests to help them start their married life in grand style.

It’s also very convenient for the guests. They can do everything from their home computer, even as late as the day of the shower or wedding!

I highly recommend this convenient and easy to use tool for new brides.

#HoneyFund
#WeddingGifts
#BridalRegistry
#WeddingInvitations
#Honeymoon
#WeddingShower
#InvitationMaven